Analysis of the former Psychiatric Hospital: changes after the Second World War

After the controversy died down following the demise of the “secret son” of Mussolini in the mental hospital in 1942, the years immediately following the Second World War became a period of lively debate within the world of psychiatry of Lombardy that slowly saw the emergence of the “supremacy” of the Psychiatric Hospital Paolo Pini of Milan, in comparison with the historical and glorious structure of Limbiate.


The new guidelines for psychopathology imposed increasingly stronger and consolidated ties with the hospitals, clinics, casualty wards of the area and university research, all of which conspired to connote the remoteness of the hospital from the city as an extremely negative factor. The importance of Paolo Pini grew further in those years thanks to the agreement signed between the Province of Milan and the University of Milan for the establishment of a chair for psychiatry and the opening of a graduate course in psychiatry by Professor C. G. Riquier. This was the basis for the first Italian University Clinic (1958), established in the former mental hospital Paolo Pini Milan.
The new medical and scientific discoveries in the 1960s and 1970s, led to the establishment of centres of excellence and the “downgrading” of the structure of Mombello. This led to the final affirmation of the centrality of the “culture” of the mental hospital Paolo Pini, which had a crucial and privileged position compared with other provincial mental hospitals. It had the best network for infrastructure services and a facilitated exchange of views and information with the academic world. In the 1960s, some architectural buildings (e.g. Chiarugi Department) were demolished in a slow process of initial renewal that led to the creation of significant and far-reaching experiences in the decade that followed, such as the ”famous” Casa Alfa, a clinic with private bar which was managed by the internees themselves. This story still remains to be written completely.